Chapter 4: Writing Effective Routine and Positive Messages

Understanding Each Communication Genre and Identifying When to Properly Use Each Method of Communication

Learning Objective

  1. Defining the structure of the business communication hierarchy. Identifying each method of business communication and understanding the best uses that each individual form of communication brings to effective business communication.

Informing the Organization of the Basic Business Communication Structure

Results of effective communication are extremely important in the business world as it helps businesses keep the company successful, maximizes its profits, keeps its employees engaged and in a happy manner, and also helps them to sufficiently focus on their job for achieving the company’s goals.  Communication is an organization’s main foundation, and an organization would cease to exist without it. Its main functions are to exchange information and options, drawing up proposals, plans and agreements, implementing decisions, forwarding orders or fulfilling them and in general, carry out sales. If organizational activity is the bloodstream of an organization, then communication is the heart, meaning that activities cease to exist without it.

Types of Communication in Organizations

There are two types of business communication in an organization, which are contained within the definition of “Vertical Communication”

  • Internal Communication
  • External Communication

All communication that pertains to internal matters and interaction between staff and employees in various forms is called internal communication. It serves as an excellent medium to address all concerns of employees, thereby enhancing goodwill, job satisfaction, productivity and safety aspects. It also serves to increase turnover and profits.

Components of Internal Communication

  • Upward Communication

The flow of information and instructions that is initiated by lower ranks within the hierarchal structure to those in higher positions is referred to as upward communication.  This type of communication can prevent the organization from experiencing a void of communication in terms of not only the proper receipt of information, but also solutions to other problems that the company may face. Undoubtedly, communication is a two-way street, but for it to work efficiently, information must originate at the bottom, and move upwards. The benefits of upward communication to the staff include the exchange of ideas and information, heightened staff enthusiasm, job satisfaction and the provision of feedback.

  • Downward Communication

The flow of information and instructions from the top levels of the organization to its lowest levels, detailing the mission and the policies is referred to as downward communication. These may be in the form of specific instructions or guidelines to complete a full project. However, you must start establishing the procedure only after the upward communication has been successfully instituted. This information flow can be used to pass on important matters and instructions, announce decisions and promote mutual discussions, cooperation, and morale, enhance efficiency and obtain feedback.

  • Horizontal/Lateral Communication

The flow of information between people with the same rank in the organization for the purpose of communicating with each other and collaborating while seeking to maintain common goals is referred to horizontal or lateral communication. Assigned work is best completed when employees at the same level utilize this method of communication This kind of communication helps solve problems by enhanced teamwork, boosting efficiency, completing tasks and building goodwill.

Components of External Communication

External communication refers to communication by company supervisors and workers with agencies or individuals, working outside the company, for example, as with customers and vendors. The use of this type of communication and useful interaction can lead to:

  • operational efficiency
  • market credibility
  • goodwill-building
  • Positive corporate image
  • customer satisfaction
  • Clearly defined organizational goals
    • lead to higher performance
    • lead to increased sales volumes
    • lead to strong profit showing

Most of this external work is done by marketing departments who target markets in pursuit of a larger share of business and the purchase executives who are always sourcing better quality inputs at lower prices.

When to Use Communication Genres

Face-To-Face Communication

The oldest, but the most effective mode of communication is the face-to-face type that requires the physical presence of both parties involved, removing any form of misunderstandings and making absolutely certain that the points of the conversation have been mutually understood. Once this is achieved, further discussions can be held at any time without delay. You can also make your message shown in a manner that will directly incorporate your feelings, passion and commitments to an individual or at a group meeting. In the business world, this is the best form to make an impression the vital points pertaining to your company or your audience.

Communication by Email

Email is one of the most used communication modes, for its mostly cost effective, fast and various features, giving it an edge over others in communication with the remotest parts of the globe, benefitting both the sender and receiver. Though it may appear less personal than a face-to-face meeting or even a phone call, email allows for the opportunity to send documents, pictures or videos at the click of a mouse, with the same credibility as mailing a message or delivering it by hand. A sender must use proper grammar and etiquette to write the email clearly to avoid a misunderstanding between the sender and potentially multiple receivers, which could develop negative viewpoints of the person receiving the message.


The phone is a more personal form of communication than email, and can add a personal touch to messages that are more complex in nature that need the clarity of a phone call to explain some more involved details that cannot be put into a written message. Its significant advantage is that you can reach people with clarity, at any given time around the globe when you want to confirm your associate’s accurate understanding of your message.


Verbal communication includes direct, face-to-face meetings, video conferencing and telephoning. Additionally, it puts the message receivers at ease to pose questions to the sender and obtain his feedback, thus saving on response time and decision making. Of course, with the increased use of the verbal communication, you can see problems like language, social and cultural barriers and time difference in the different business cultures happening more often. You have to overcome these hassles to make a meaningful and useful message that has the least bit of confusion and complexity.

Written Form of Communication

Several forms of written communication including formal letters, posters, business memos, bulletin boards, and flyers are forms of communication. This is a good choice for those wanting to convey the same message in writing to several people at different locations. They can also convey technical messages with images and charts to make it easier for the recipients to analyze and comprehend. Another advantage of a written message is the trail that is created that necessitates the recipient to receive and acknowledge it. Such messages are also created for purposes of a record of corrections or for legal purposes.

Electronic Form of Communication

The constant evolution of technology has had an enormous effect on the way business communications are conducted in today’s business world, including web conferencing, email, social networking, text messaging, chat and online organizational websites. Most companies resort to electronic messaging to communicate quickly with multiple recipients outside of the company, such as stakeholders.  Stakeholders may include employees, creditors, shareholders, unions, suppliers and the community.  This method of communication has a benefit of costing less to the company than other forms of written communication. Different forms of electronic communication are used by organizations to communicate with or send messages not only to diverse demographic clusters, but also individuals and organizations in the international arena.

Web Conferencing

Web Seminars, Webcasts, general web conferencing and web meetings on a peer level are some of the activities that the internet facilitates under a general umbrella of collaborative online services called web conferencing, especially on IP/TCP connections. This mode of communication permits one sender to send information to a cluster of destination computers simultaneously (Multicast communication) using the IP multicast in the internet layer, or sending communication on a real time point to point basis using an IP protocol with a serial interface for communication between two computers. Web conferencing applications can include lectures, training modules, and presentations between computers that are web connected.

Social Networking Services

This is an ideal web based platform facilitating the sharing of social relations among like-minded people with similar interests. The participants in this platform create a public profile and a user list, share information and interact with each other on this social network, using the email and instant messaging services like Facebook, Twitter, and mobile messaging like WhatsApp etc. Social networking sites are diversified and include facile tools for communication, like mobile connectivity, blogging and video /photo sharing.  Companies can use this type of communication at work and outside of work, and can stay connected to clients, stakeholders, and employees.

Key Takeaway

  1. Understanding the business communication structure of one’s organization is important to utilize effective communication. Choosing an appropriate genre of business communication is important to effectively convey the sender’s intended message to the receiver. One must be able to distinguish between the varieties of types of communication genres and be able to identify which one is best for the specific message at hand.


  1. Identify as many different styles of business communication as you can. Differentiate in what certain situations you think each method of communicating would work best and why.


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Meche, M., Spinks, N., Wells, B. (1999) Netiquette: a behavioral guide to electronic business communication. Corporate Communications. Vol. 4(3)

Sims, C. (2015) Competency and connection: undergraduate students and effective email messages. Communication Teacher. 29:3, 129-134


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